Penny Stacey, DWM’s assistant editor, just finished an article on the various wood certification programs available, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). While some manufacturers who choose to participate in a certification program may use both, it seems that more often than not, these two programs are in competition with one another. There are advantages and disadvantages to both programs in the minds of many, which is why some choose one over the other.

This made me think about other competing organizations in the door and window and building industries. You have the LEED for Homes program, introduced by the U.S. Green Building Council. Then you have a competing green building program from the National Association of Home Builders. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to both programs in the minds of many, which is why some choose one over the other.

Then you have the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, two associations serving the needs of the door and window industry. While the two do work together on various documents and projects, which is great for the industry, ultimately they do compete. There are advantages and disadvantages to both programs in the minds of many which is why some choose one over the other.

Hopefully you know where I am going with this. Obviously, you have more than one competitor, but what is your main competitive advantage? Why does someone choose your product over another or vice versa? It may seem like an easy question, but it’s often not. Don’t fall into the trap of saying something easy like “competitive price or quality.” When a builder or customer asks you why they should choose you over the competition I urge you to be ready with a distinct, clear answer, and then have the facts to back that up. In a competitive industry such as yours this is crucial to your success.

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